|Team: Le Mans|
H: 6' 7"|
W: 200 lbs
(33 Years Old)
|Agent: Pedja Materic ||
Hometown: Pointe Noire, Guadeloupe
Drafted: Pick 48 in 2005 by Supersonics
Worst Case: Rasual Butler
Overview: An athletic French swingman who suffered a serious injury in his sophomore season and has yet to show what heís able to do at the NBA level. Known mostly for his defense and versatility. Has prototypical size for a small forward, but has a very lanky frame. Owner of a big wingspan. Displays great lateral quickness defensively. Shows a decent first step in half court sets and good speed in transition. Clearly a role-player offensively. Can knock down shots inconsistently with his feet set from the outside. Can finish the break. Lacks the ball-handling skills to create his own offense. Relies on hustle to score most of his points. Brings a lot to the table defensively. Works hard, and does a good job staying in front of his man and contesting shots. May not ever be a dynamic offensive player and needs to hone his complimentary skills. Ball handling needs serious improvement. Still very much an unproven commodity at the NBA level. ACL tear was a major setback that may see him end up returning to Europe.
Offense: A limited offensive player who doesnít bring a lot to the table at this point. Gets more than a third of his touches in spot up situations, but also makes contributions in transition and by working off the ball. Displays a fundamentally sound jumper that still needs work to become consistent. Can shoot the three, but doesnít often. Has improved his ability to make shots with his feet set. Nice touch around the basket. Will take a few jumpers off the dribble and connect at a passable rate. Not a good ball handler by any stretch, but knows his limitations and doesnít try to do too much. Decent passer. Does a good job as a complimentary player. Runs the floor extremely hard and can finish when he gets a lead pass. Moves well in the half court offense and will duck in for some easy baskets when he sees a chance. Not a very talented offensive player, but has some decent qualities.
Defense: A versatile defender who gives the effort necessary to add value to his game. Possesses the lateral quickness to keep up with most ball handlers. Capable of creating turnovers and blocking shots with his athleticism. Doesnít show great anticipation, but has nice recovery speed. Wonít get bullied on the block by most players. Will contribute some rebounding. Could become a nice stopper in limited minutes down the line.
Gelabale burst onto the international scene came last season when he transferred to powerhouse European squad Real Madrid and quickly became a starter there. He had success in both the Euroleague and ACB, being an instrumental part of Real Madridís championship squad. Being 22 at the time, he was eligible for the draft and ended up being picked 48th by Seattle, which could very well end up being a steal for them that late in the second round.
He then finished off his breakout season by being one of the best French players in the European championship for his first international appearance. During the tournament he showcased his premiere defensive ability, based on his athleticism and basketball IQ. Gelabale also was active on the offensive end, finishing with 8 ppg and 3.1 rpg on 63 % shooting. He also made his three pointers and free throws when needed ( 5/10 and 5/6).
His second year in Madrid was not as successful as the first one. His relationship with Bozidar Maljkovic, Real Madridís coach, worsened during the year when Gelabale said he was thinking about the NBA. He was left out of the ACB playoff roster and Real Madrid lost against Winterthur Barcelona in the quarter finals.
He regardless still got a two year guaranteed contract to play in Seattle this fall which he signed just a few weeks ago before going to the French national team training camp. During exhibition games with France, Gelabale has not shined as much as he did last year, especially on the offensive side, due to a more balanced offense. But his role is still decisive for the French NT.
Expect him to bulk up his game when the World Championships start, which will give him more valuable experience before arriving in Seattle this fall. He will bring his all around game and unselfishness, doing all the little things a role player is expected to do. He should quickly adapt to the league, especially on the defensive end. On the offensive side, his quickness and positioning will help him find easy buckets from mid-range and in transition. Considering the present roster of the Sonics, he could very well be the first wing player off the bench behind Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis.
Gelabale is going through the typical second-season slump that many players suffer from in the ACB League after a good first campaign (which convinced the Sonics to use a second-round pick on him). He crowned his remarkable progression with an extremely consistent showing in the Eurobasket last summer, helping France to the bronze medal. That good momentum lasted beyond the current seasonís start, but came to an end in the first months of the competition. And he surely didnít find it back in this Cup.
Not going as unnoticed as his replacement on the wing Marko Tomas (they rarely play together, but usually split minutes at the small forward position), the results were pretty much similar, as Gelabaleís contributions to his team were rather small. A dunk in transition here, a short shot over a rival there, and little else. At least he tried, but he lost some confidence and his limitations arose in the form of turnovers, way too many considering his scoring contribution. Gelabale really suffers creating his own shot whenever he needs to perform more than a simple move. His average handles, footwork and basketball IQ limit his creativity off the dribble.
Last season we already said that Mickael wouldnít likely be anything more than a role player, probably a very good and useful one, but a role player after all. This season that impression is even stronger. However, at some point he will get over his current inconsistency and again become a productive player for Real Madrid and perhaps eventually for the Sonics in the future.
If there's a draft prospect who may have improved his stock during the King's Cup, it's Mickael Gelabale. He did a little bit of everything while he was on the floor, making few mistakes and showing his potential in various aspects of the game.
Anybody who saw him could get an idea of what this player is capable of turning into. He showed his nice jumper, particularly consistent from the mid-range area. He also insisted with the post-up game he has begun to use lately, with excellent results. While Gelabale is not strong enough at all to fight near the basket, his fluid and efficient movements and the ability he has to release the ball from very high, make him a threat to take his man to the low post. He tried some penetrations too, but still with mixed results (he needs to keep on working here; he can become a very good slasher). He showed his athleticism while rebounding and getting blocks, and he did a good job on defense.
He was in foul trouble in the quarterfinals against Estudiantes, but gained playing time as the tournament advanced, and it shouldn't surprise anyone if some scouts left Zaragoza thinking about the Frenchman as a possible first rounder for the upcoming draft.
When MickaŽl Gelabale signed with Real Madrid last summer, many French basketball fans were worried about the playing time he would receive in such a strong and deep team as Real Madrid. Gelabale was at the time a raw player who was raising concerns about his competitiveness and intensity on the court.
All that seems forgotten now, as the athletic wing player has fit very well on the team, earning a solid place in the rotation, while the exposure that the Euroleague provides has done wonders for his draft stock.
Gelabale is hardly a star in the making, but throughout this regular season he has proved that he can be an excellent role player. For such an athletic guy like him (he's a fan favourite in Madrid, thanks to his dunks), he surprises with the coolness he displays on the court, rarely making mistakes and almost always staying focused. He's not super talented, nor is his basketball IQ particularly high, but he's fully aware of his limitations and plays accordingly while taking them into account.
Being the only true small forward of his team, he has mainly provided good defense, rebounding and mid-to-long range shooting (he has converted 67% of his 2-point shots, many of them 18-20 footers), although he has been rather inconsistent from behind the three point line.
After a very steady regular season, his goal for the top-16 round should be to become a little more fearless in the offensive end, of course providing it's for the good of the team, and trying to become more important to Real, especially as an offensive threat. So far, he has shown little versatility, although in the last weeks we sometimes could see him trying to take his defender to the low post if he had a size advantage there. It's obvious that his athleticism makes him intriguing, but it's still not clear if his talent and mind can take him to the next level.
The first thing you notice about Mickael Gelabale is his great athleticism and his smooth movements. The guy can jump out of the gym and he's quite fast. Combine this with a 6-8 body and a very good wingspan, and we can start talking about some very nice physical potential for him in the wing.
But Gelabale is more than his athleticism and his long body, he's a player with skills that are already good enough to be very valuable to any team, particularly his shooting and his defense, and with the potential to develop other abilities nicely as well.
The consistency he shows with his jumpshot is quite remarkable. He's usually money in the bank when he's open up to 18-19 feet. He can also nail the three-pointer with fairly good accuracy, but he still hasn't fully mastered it. He shows nice mechanics and he's fairly quick on the release, which is also pretty high thanks to his vertical. Therefore, he doesn't even need to be fully open to make it. His shot is mainly static, although he can make it off the dribble too. It's not the usual pattern, though. He's a player who tries to minimize risks and make as few mistakes as possible. So he never forces shots unless it's necessary.
He's a decent slasher too, and he can become quite a good one. His first step is nothing out of this world, but he has handles, athleticism and the footwork to fill the bill. Like it happens with his shooting, he doesn't take too many chances, so it's not the most usual thing to see him try and penetrate. He waits for a good option, finds the opening, and takes advantage of it. He likes to run the floor a lot, and he has already finished this season some spectacular alley-oops in transition.
On defense, he's hard to beat, really hard if a screen isn't used. He has very good lateral defensive speed and his long arms are a nightmare for the opponents. His defense is not really very aggressive, but his intensity is constant and he's usually focused. He has the tools to become a very good rebounder, and he can make some nasty blocks if needed, but he rarely risks his defensive position for a rejection.
Gelabale shows decent basketball IQ. He seems comfortable on the court, he knows the game. Concerning his character, he shows a good attitude, being very serious on the floor, always focused, always willing to work, always thinking first about the team. Because that's what the Frenchman is, a team player.
Gelabale's main need right now is to bulk up and gain strength. He's too skinny, and it's hurting him both on defense and rebounding, as he has problems to get by screens and it's also difficult for him to get good positioning for the rebound and not to be outmuscled when fighting for one. It won't be that easy. Gelabale has quite a thin frame, and although he will surely get stronger, it remains to be seen to what degree.
He doesn't show anything more than average court vision. No surprising assists in traffic, no flashy passes. But he doesn't look for troubles and tries to find the open man, looking for the logical pass, using good criteria. On the other hand when he finds himself in the middle of the traffic and needs to pass the ball, he doesn't always get the job properly done.
We have talked so far about how he likes to play under control, not to take too many risks, and all that stuff. But I think some degree of fearlessness might be missed in his game, especially regarding driving to the basket. Sometimes he doesn't look confident enough when slashing. He doesn't bet the house when I think it would benefit his game in some occasions. In general, many times you feel he could be more important in the offensive end. Although we also have to realize that he's a youngster playing in a very demanding team like Real Madrid, where he's not supposed to be anything close to an offensive reference.
Gelabale's path so far has been a little bit different compared with his other countrymen prospects: he's not a product of the INSEP institution, like many talented French youngsters are, and he's yet to play an official competition with any French National Team, whether youth or senior.
Mickael was developed as a basketball player in Cholet's youth categories, making his debut with the Cholet first team at the age of 18 in the 2001/02 season. His last season in the French team (2003/04) he averaged 10.4 points with 52% on FG, 4.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists.
For the 2004/05 season, Gelabale moved to Real Madrid despite having re-signed with Cholet for two more seasons earlier in the summer. The exposure he is getting playing in the Euroleague and the Spanish ACB League in such a big club surely had something to do with it. And it seems like a right move now, as he has gained coach Maljkovic's confidence. He's averaging almost 21 minutes for 6.5 points (57% FG) and 3.9 rebounds through 13 games in the ACB League, while having 9 points (63% FG) and 3.4 rebounds in almost 24 minutes after 7 games into the Euroleague.
Gelabale's solid play throughout the season has secured him a spot in the 2005 draft (he's automatically eligible). Although he may have the chance to sneak into the first round, even with no significant improvement as the season advances, the early second round looks a more realistic scenario right now.
There's no reason not to think that Gelabale can make it all the way to the NBA. Even his strength issues aren't that serious considering that he would likely play small forward. He has some skills, attitude, and the thing that is so important to play in the League: athleticism. It doesn't seem like he will ever be a star, but he might excel in the role of a team player.
He won the ACB's Showtime Dunk Contest in September of 2004, amazing the crowd with his athleticism.